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Mom has been in a memory care facility for 8 months. She calls two or three times every day but I only take one call a day because her calls are so upsetting to me. She always badgers me about taking her home. Once in awhile I'm able to convince her she's in the best place she can be, especially with the Coronavirus situation. Then I feel good until the next day when she's back to badgering me again. I have to explain how the virus is affecting all of our lives just about every time I talk to her because she doesn't remember. I tell her this is why no one can visit her. Her facility doesn't allow window visits either. I even wrote her a letter explaining it all but she says she never got it. Most of the time she ends up getting very angry with me and hanging up on me. I sometimes can't help myself and start arguing with her. Mom always seemed to be an unhappy person and I have always tried to make her happy, but I can't now. Her anti anxiety medication has been increased and I have had to increase mine too. I am cleaning out her house now preparing to sell it. (Dad passed away last August. He was in a nursing home for almost 2 years with Alzheimer's.) How do I tell her this? How do I stop myself from getting so upset over her phone calls?

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Tell yourself its the disease. Until her mind enters another stage, she will continue to want to go home. Not taking her calls is a good thing. As you and others said, she forgets you call. Right now this is her lifeline to you. But when this is all over and you can visit again, I would "lose" the phone. Making sure you tell the staff that you took it so they aren't looking for it. I have been told that I seem to suggest this alot. But I feel the person will never adjust to where they are if they are constantly calling LOs complaining. For me personally. it would drive me nuts.

When you visit you may have an easier time redirecting. Time for little fibs. If she gets started when you visit and you can't redirect, then leave. If u find this happens every visit, visit less. Agitation is not good for either of you.

No, don't tell her about the house. Just do what you need to do. She will just get upset and then forget anyway.
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Suemayer2254 Jun 15, 2020
Thanks so much for your helpful response.
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Do not tell her about the house. Consider this a form of therapeutic fib. Does redirection work when you talk to her? I try to have a short list of topics ready to bring up when my mom calls. Sometimes it works to redirect her mind to something more pleasant for her to think about and sometimes not. Can you speak to one of the caregivers everyday and find out the what is going on and how she is doing? My mom’s caregiver will send me photos of her smiling and having a good old time in the home. I‘ve learned that my mom saves all the negativity and anger for me. :-( Hold empathy and compassion for her in your heart while you get on with your life. Living your life to your fullest is what a loving mother would want you to do.
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Suemayer2254 Jun 15, 2020
THanks for your reply. I'll try your suggestions.
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This is a question that has been asked a lot on this forum. (It actually makes me glad my mother cannot work a phone anymore--not that she ever called me, but now she cannot dial or answer--we're all 'safe').

You are right to take only one call. Set a timer, 5-10 minutes and then cut her off. That sounds cruel, but she's making YOU sick.

Memory care means she is losing her memory. I doubt she remembers even the last call. Screen her and talk only when you want to and don't even take one call a day if you don't want to.

You have a LOT on your plate. Just take your meds, find a good friend to talk to and just head butt your way through cleaning out the house--or even hire someone to do it, if it's too overwhelming.

My mother, too, has always been unhappy. People she knows 'slightly' would think she was a little dolly, but they didn't grow up under her anger and spite.

There are umpteen books out there to read about detaching yourself emotionally from a parent you don't 'recognize' anymore. I can't think of any, off hand, but others will chime in and help you.

You'll NEVER change your mom, so you have to work on you. You're no good to her when you are angry or guilty, so, try to work on those emotions.

Do you have a therapist? Mine is a gem. One thing she uses is mindfulness, or having myself 'imagine' what kind of relationship I see myself having with my mother. What kind do I want? what do I deserve? And then make a plan to make that happen. It's not an overnight solution, but it is working. I no longer drive home from a visit with mother crying the whole way b/c she's been mean to me.

(Your situation is almost point for point what my DH is going through with his own mother. He visits her maybe once a month and comes home and goes to bed with a pillow over his head.)
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CaregiverL Jun 14, 2020
I would imagine the relationship with my mother to be like it was before dementia...I’ll refer to it as “bd” ...kinda like “bc” ! We went everywhere together...vacations, Macy’s, movies, grocery shopping..anywhere & everywhere. Now it’s a major production just to get her on commode to do #2 when she “thinks it’s coming “ then it’s a false alarm. ...so I have to put on the vest, hook her up, change diaper, wipe her tuchus, put ointment on, pull up pants, put on second sling under tuchus because she’s so tired that she might let go...& back into wheelchair...uuggghh!!! now I’m the one that needs a nap...but noooo, I have to give her lunch & help with every spoon. ( she can pick up spoon & put in mouth, but I have to put on spoon) I have to make sure it’s soft so she can swallow. Meanwhile, she threatens me with if I put her back in nursing home, she prefer to die. No, better I should die before her.
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